The Nativity of the Lord
"And suddenly, there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the Highest; and Peace on earth to men of good will!"
God's greatest miracles often go unnoticed unless there are messengers and angels to announce them. God's gifts of peace, and justice and reconciliation are hidden in the ordinariness and ugliness of human history; there must be angels to point them out.
erhaps that's one of the important lessons of Christmas, for all ages. This year, the Christmas moon and stars look down on a scene that looks very ordinary and, in many places, very ugly. There are colorful lights, the exchanging of gifts, holiday meals, the singing of carols - but there are also cries of hunger, the darkness of war, the emptiness of loss, the exchange of gunfire. There there seems to be very few signs of peace, good will and God's glory.
The miracle of Christ's coming in our flesh, of God's taking on our humanity and making it holy seems very hidden indeed. There must be voices that will shatter the darkness and dispel the despair. There must be messengers to reassure suffering people everywhere that God is with us, that peace is possible, that justice is attainable.
We who believe the miracle of Christmas must be the messengers. We must announce God's presence and the Saving Word of Jesus to the sick and lonely and suffering people around us. We do this by our words, our acts and our lives. It is our sense of wonder and awe of the miracle of Christmas. It is the song of our love and compassion for others day in the ordinary circumstances of everyday that announce: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to those on whom God's favor rests!" Then, and only then, will the rest of the world know how remarkable Christmas really is!
But just being "messengers" isn't enough. Someone once said: "If you want to keep Christ in Christmas: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the stranger and unwanted, care for the ill and the elderly and love your enemies..."
The truth we celebrate at Christmas is that God's Spirit permeates throughout all human cultures. It moves men and women to greater depths of cooperation and care and generosity… it assures all of us of hope and healing in the face of the suffering and tragedy of this fragile planet. And it moves all of us to live our lives the best we can, in ways that ennoble and dignify our neighbors and ourselves.